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5 left homeless in New Kensington fire, family scrambles to get out safely | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

5 left homeless in New Kensington fire, family scrambles to get out safely

Nathan Murray-Sinicki was doing homework when a fire broke out in the kitchen of his New Kensington home.

“I opened up my bedroom door, and there was just smoke coming all the way up to the second floor,” said Murray-Sinicki, 19. “By the time I get downstairs, the entire first floor is completely coated in thick, black smoke.”

He said he and two of his siblings ran outside. His mom was in the kitchen, trying to put out the fire.

“We all got onto the street within a minute of us finding this out, and then we were trying to figure out where everyone else was,” he said.

Murray-Sinicki said his brother, Jarrell, went back inside to get their mom, and the two managed to get out of the house and into the backyard. Two of their dogs also escaped, he said.

“All of us got out in time,” he said. “No one got hurt. Everyone’s fine — our dogs are fine.”

“It was just really mortifying, especially seeing the fire, all the way from the kitchen, travel upstairs and then hit everyone’s bedroom,” Murray-Sinicki said. “At first it was smoke, and then it was flames. They hit the roof, and then it just started catching everything on fire.”

The 2-alarm blaze was reported just after 5:45 p.m., New Kensington Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. said.

He said the house at 483 Freeport St. is a total loss.

“The fire originally started in the kitchen, (and) because of the construction of the house, it quickly spread throughout the whole house,” he said. “The second floor in the back of the house is completely gone. It burned out and collapsed.”

The fire also burned out part of the roof, he said.

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No one was injured.

“The occupants probably got out just in the knick of time,” he said.

Murray-Sinicki’s family rented the house, where he lived with his mother and three brothers. One of his siblings is away at college, so he wasn’t home.

Initial reports indicated that two houses and an auto body shop caught fire, but Saliba Jr. said firefighters were able to contain the blaze to 483 Freeport St.

Eight fire companies responded, he said. The fire was under control by 6:45 p.m. and the last crew left shortly before 9 p.m.

Saliba Jr. said firefighters did a good job fighting the flames. He said there was the potential for the fire to spread to other nearby homes because there is little space between them and they’re all built a certain way.

“The framing lumber runs from the foundation to the attic,” Saliba Jr. said. “It’s like one big void. Once the fire gets in, it runs the whole way to the attic.”

Murray-Sinicki said most of his belongings were in the house, including his phone and a new computer he just got for school.

“I have my wallet, I have a pen and the clothes that I’m wearing right now,” he said. “Everything in my bedroom is gone.”

He said his family has a close friend they can stay with, but he doesn’t know how long that may last.

“We have family that we can talk to about our current housing situation,” he said.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.


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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to put out a blaze on Freeport Street in New Kensington on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work the scene of a Freeport Street fire in New Kensington on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work the scene of a fire on Freeport Street in New Kensington on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work the scene of a fire in New Kensington on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
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Madasyn Czebiniak | Tribune-Rerview
A family of five renting this house on Freeport Street is homeless following a fire Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
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